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 Post subject: Independent schools
PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2009 10:00 am 
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[Moved from "Appeal unsuccessful" - Etienne]

Hi
We were in exactly this position with my daughter 2 years ago. I can't remember the exact marks but I think it was 116/120 (pass was 121 IIRC). She had excellent school reports and we went to the appeal without too many concerns. I wasn't expecting to be grilled and patronised by three blue-rinse women (I exaggerate but not by much) - it felt like being up in front of a Magistrate's panel!

It seemed like a lot of wasted effort - and it's especially galling to hear that children were getting through on appeal that year with considerably fewer 11+ marks. I can only assume it's because we sent our daughter to a private school, she had no illnesses (real or imagined) and that she had a stable family background. For appeals academic achievement (or potential) carry less weight than medical or emotional factors.

Anyway the upshot was that the appeal failed; my daughter passed the 12+ easily last year but declined the place offered at Aylesbury High and is now enjoying Year 8 in Northampton.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2009 10:27 am 
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voxish you are so wrong - the balance of evidence at a Bucks selection appeal is always academic evidence.

We have been through a failed appeal too but just because there were 'issues' with ours does not mean the system is not as fair as it can be when humans are involved!

The fact your child was at a private school is irrelevant - perhaps they did not present the evidence in a convincing way? Without predicted KS2 levels it will always be a harder battle -

Many of us on here have gone down the 12+ route and, similarly, have got the qualification score [and more].


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2009 11:26 am 
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Guest55 makes a good point. If the independent school doesn't do SATs, doesn't do CATs or alternative reasoning tests, and isn't a partner school (so the panel cannot see how reliable the head's recommendations are as a whole), the academic evidence may well be limited to school reports and a school reference - so this evidence is critical.

Some independent school reports are fine, others can be quite unhelpful in terms of the level of achievement. Is the pupil getting the highest possible achievement grades, and is it clear what these grades really mean?

Similarly, some independent school references are fine ("considerable academic potential, near the very top of our top set, which consists of very bright children, all of whom have qualified for grammar school ...."), whereas others do nothing to help at an appeal ("lovely child, working well, super milk monitor, great on the games field, really supportive parents .....").

In my experience, panels considered all cases thoroughly and impartially, whether the children were from the independent sector, the state sector, or had just arrived from abroad!

Where appeals with lower scores succeed, it's because they are very strong cases.

These observations do not necessarily apply to Voxish's case. I'm broadening the discussion out to independent schools in general. - Etienne.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2009 11:43 am 
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Moved from other thread - Etienne

voxish wrote:
Hi Guest - whilst I agree with you that my daughter going to a private school probably was irrelevant, I believe the bar is set higher for children with a (supposedly) privileged and stable background. Perhaps it should be but that should be made clear at the outset. I absolutely agree that some children underachieve through no fault of their own (marital breakdown, serious illness and suchlike) and this must be taken into account.

I suggest that some people more versed in the system than us have exaggerated their child's mitigatory circumstances. All the academic predictions and school reports were fine and the original 11+ score misssed by only 1 mark. I feel we were let down by being open and honest and not playing up trivial sniffles and the like.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2009 12:04 pm 
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Thanks Etienne - I'm intrigued to hear about the difference in reporting of schools, the Head of ours had some staffing difficulties in that term so that may have been a factor.

It's water under the bridge now but we felt very let-down at the time and the fact that she was very successful at 12+ and is doing well academically at her new school only rubs salt in the wound. I appreciate any system which relies on subjective judgement is flawed so all schools should use an identical testing and report system.

I still shudder at what I went through at the appeal - it's a horrible system IMHO which I wasn't prepared for in the slightest.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:04 pm 
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It’s interesting, isn’t it, our different reactions to appeal panels.

We talked to lots of friends who’d been through an appeal and received very different responses about the experience, and not always coinciding with whether they were successful or not.

We found it very gruelling – though that maybe partly because it’s tough talking about DD’s health problems – and had the sense that the chair had no real understanding of our case whatsoever.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:44 pm 
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Sadly I see no way all schools are going to have a uniform testing and report system, especially where the independent sector is concerned.

Most parents find it tough, going through the appeal process.

From the Q&As:[quote]If you are about to embark on an appeal, then you need to be aware that it is a very stressful process. Realistically the odds are against most appeals succeeding. After being bitterly disappointed at the 11+, ask yourself whether you can face the possibility of what some forum members have described as a “second hammer blowâ€

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2009 4:12 pm 
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As usual Etienne, your advice is spot on, that is absolutely the right way to approach an appeal.

I wonder whether people’s view of the process says more about them than it does about the process… As you know (!!) we hated it, but then neither OH nor I are terribly confident in that sort of formal setting, and both of us find it hard to talk in detail about DD’s distressing medical history so not surprising we found it an ordeal.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 12:45 pm 
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Etienne wrote:
If the independent school doesn't do SATs, doesn't do CATs or alternative reasoning tests, and isn't a partner school (so the panel cannot see how reliable the head's recommendations are as a whole), the academic evidence may well be limited to school reports and a school reference - so this evidence is critical


What's ironic is that some parents choose private education because they don't want their children subjected to so many tests.

I have found that the SATS tests are quite often the only quantitative information we get from our childrens school, as teachers (often because of school policy) are reluctant to give out any information that could be used by nasty parents in the playground to boast on how well or not their child is doing academically; of course, they all have that information so they can see how well children are progressing. Strange, when schools are normally quite happy to post information of how well children do at sports, who scored most goals in the football team, swam the fastest in interschool swimming contests...

So maybe when selecting a private school it's worth choosing one that has at least some standardised testing.

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